The 22nd Arkansas Poll was released today and the results on the political questions were pretty bad from my point of view. To wit:
I expected numbers favoring Trump and Cotton, but I hope the margins are smaller election day. The support for Issues 1, the sales tax increase and 2, to end term limits, was also a bit stronger than I expected, but at least Issue 3, the petition killer, may be in trouble. I still say 1,2,3 NO!
A summary news release says:
The top three concerns with respondents this year were healthcare (24 percent), the economy (23 percent) and politicians/politics (20 percent). The last reflects an increasing level of political discord in the country, said Janine Parry, professor of political science at the U of A. “If Republicans and Democrats agree on just one thing in 2020, it’s that the republic is in bad shape.”
Parry designs and analyzes the poll annually. For candidate contests, it has a track record of coming within two points of actual election results.
In Arkansas’ two statewide, high-profile contests, support for Republicans indicates the increasing strength of the party, continuing a decade-long trend, Parry said. “While it appears President Trump will win fewer states nationwide in 2020 then he did in 2016, Arkansas is likely to be one of the few states in which he actually increases his vote share. This speaks to Arkansas’s recent switch to the Republican brand, a wholesale reversal of fortune in just a decade’s time.”
As further evidence of the shift, Parry notes the poll results showing the percentage of respondents who identify as Republican at an all-time high (44 percent) and the number identifying as Democrat at an all-time low (20 percent).
Among independents (29 percent of respondents), all but 15 percent said they feel “close to” one of the major parties, leaving very few of the swing voters who decided Arkansas elections in the past, she said. “In short, not only has Arkansas now fully realigned (about 25 years after most of her southern peers), but – as we see nationally – almost no one is left in the middle.”
This year’s poll delved into handling of the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, cultural differences, abortion, guns and global warming.
Approval rating was high for all Arkansas politicians measured and Trump — sky high, 70 percent favorable, for Governor Hutchinson.
Support/oppose Black Lives Matter? 44-52.
Only 24 percent support making abortion illegal but favor limits. 50-45 percent favor the law as it is (35 percent as is) or less restrictive (15 percent).
49 percent like gun laws as they are. 32 percent would make them stricter and 17 percent would like them looser.
61 percent say they don’t expect climate change to pose a serious threat in their lifetime.
The 11 questions on intercultural comfort produced results that indicated greater acceptance of different cultures tracked education, income, ideology and support for Black Lives Matter.
People feel good about the direction Arkansas is going and are generally upbeat about their individual situations.
Feel better now?
PS: Note the demographics as potential factors in the results.
Average age of respondents was 64 against 49 for the state.
Sample was 81 percent white against 73 percent for the state.
I’m not sure I buy that Arkansas has dipped to 20 percent Democratic when 33 percent voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.